Most teachers in my school (Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Taraz) prefer to work in isolation. They feel more confortable sitting alone and doing the tasks on their own behind the closed doors. I have never thought about collaboration as something necessary or important before the situatuion which took place at the end of the term last year. All teachers, who were teaching in the 7th grades, did not collaborate during the term, each teacher worked individually. Nobody knew what the colleagues were doing in the classroom. All interesting things happened when we started the preparation of summative test, only that time we realized that we taught different things. We gave students different vocabulary, different writing activities and different types of questions in reading and listening. It took us a lot of time in order to come up to general activities for all students. We were lucky because the summative test was prepared by us at school, otherwise if it were sent from another school, our students would not succeed. This situation helped me to comprehend that it is essential to explain teachers what is collaborative work, what benefits they can receive from working together and what impact it can have on student’s performance and their teaching style. I decided to start the exploration of this topic. After the analysis of a number of studies, I came up with my own definition of collaboration. From my point of view collaboration in teaching means to work together for the achievement of the same goal of the school and student success. “Teachers who have worked together see substantial improvements in student’s achievement, behavior, and attitude”( Inger, 1993). Inger (1993) claimed that schools, where teachers work collaboratively, students can clearly see the coherence and they can predict the expected outcomes from them, as the teachers share the same visions.
In addition, collaboration can lead to the high levels of teacher self-efficacy which can be produced by the creation of friendly and collaborative teaching environment or belief in one’s professional teaching abilities, resulting from the sharing of successful teaching strategies, reflection on teaching techniques, and an overall positive school environment (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy and Hoy2007).
Inger, M. “Teacher Collaboration in Secondary Schools.”National Center for Research in Vocational Education, 1993.
Tschannen-Moran, M., A. Woolfolk Hoy, & W. Hoy. “Teacher Efficacy: Its Meaning and Measure. ” Review of Educational Research, 1998, 202-48.